Powerless to grade

Using Google Docs for managing student work is great. Except when the power goes out. We had a pretty bad ice storm last Thu PM/Friday AM. Besides ice raining down on the house all night, the snapping tree limbs and exploding transformers woke me and/or Madelyn multiple times. Our power went out for good in the early morning, and with it our heat (gas furnace). We awoke to tree limbs down everywhere, a half inch or more of ice over everything. The sound of chainsaws, beeping trucks, and crackling ice increased as the day went on. We were okay for a while; Erin made a gigantic pot of soup, which warmed the house pretty well, and we took care of the girls. I made a quick trip to WIU to do some reading, charge my laptop, and print some essays. But once it got dark, trying to deal with Amelia and Madelyn was no fun. So we escaped to Shazia and Rizwan’s house for the night.

Fortunately our power came back on Saturday afternoon. But as we put Madelyn to bed after the daal party (again at Shazia and Rizwan’s), I realized the gas had stopped working. Oops. I lit the kerosene heater and stayed up until waiting for Ameren. About 1:45am a serviceman arrived. The gas regulator had frozen. It didn’t take the Ameren dude long to fix it, relight the pilot on our water heater, and ensure our stove and heater were working. And he was nice and very tolerant of my sleepiness. I think I fell asleep at 2:30.

Add this all up, and much of my grading for the end of the semester–two graduate classes, a total of 17 students–was compressed into one day. Guess it’s yesterday now. I didn’t have time to comment on essays, and I had forgotten to ask the students (as I usually do in graduate classes) to preface their essay with a few paragraphs which situate it in terms of their larger work. Last night I drove the grade sheets to campus around midnight then went to bed.

My parents got here today. Amelia is obliging with smiles galore, and Madelyn is happy too. There’s another storm coming tonight. We’ll see if we need that kerosene heater again. For now, I’m very thankful for generous friends, quick response from our utilities, safe travels for my mom and dad, and the coming of a very, very needed night’s sleep.

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2 Responses to Powerless to grade

  1. cbd says:

    Okay, but how do I keep the laptop going longer than four hours?

    Might be time to get a wood stove and a small generator.

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